Monthly Archives: July 2005
If I close my eyes, I can see it all: every step, every question, every picture. A week ago today, I was standing in front of a glass case mesmerized by the beauty of the objects inside. There was a blue couch next to the glass case and framed copies of Sports Illustrated covers all over the wall. Two receptionists sat at the desks in the office. One desk had quite a few bobble-head dolls on it. The other desk had copies of a campus magazine. The door into this office was glass as well and there was a large plaque outside telling visitors what the office was. I can remember every bit of the surroundings in that office, but I couldn’t tell you the names of the two ladies. I can tell you that the men’s and women’s restrooms were down the hall and (at least for the women’s) they had blue tiled walls, blue doors, etc. Even the school logo was on the sign that said WOMEN. Down the corridor to the Basketball Office, photos of UNC’s basketball players from the old days to the present hung on the walls. It was like a yellow (Carolina blue) brick road leading you to the shiny objects in the glass case. When I turned that corner and saw the trophies through the glass door of the office, I think time stopped or at least I stopped hearing anything around me. I’ve seen these trophies before…well…at least the 82 and 93 trophies. But to see the 2005 trophies that were won by a group of guys who came so far in such a short amount of time, learned to play as a team rather than as individuals, and brought Carolina back to where it belonged was just such a great experience for me. Alas, their leader, Roy Williams was on the recruiting trail that day, so we didn’t see him, but the ladies who work for him in that office are so patient and kind. My mother apologized for taking so long and said that they probably get annoyed with people coming in to see the trophies. To which, the ladies (AND I) said that if we could get these trophies every year, we’d STILL never get tired of it. 🙂
Not many people know that I waited nearly all my life for Roy Williams to win a National Championship. And for nearly as long as I waited for him to win that championship, I waited for him to return to North Carolina. I think I must have been 10 years old when he started coaching at Kansas. I have always held his coaching style and “aww-shucks” personality in high esteem. And as the winningest active coach (by winning percentage), he’s done quite a bit to back up my adoration of him (however healthy or unhealthy it might be). I’ve always been one of the first people to say that he didn’t need to win a championship to be one of the greatest coaches of all time. The fact that the media believed he needed to will always be beyond my understanding. I’m just glad he got that monkey off his back. It took his mentor, Dean Smith, over 20 years to win his first championship and only 11 years to win his second, but I’d never in a million years say that Dean Smith was a better coach BECAUSE he won championships. Quite the opposite, BECAUSE Dean Smith was a great coach, he produced great teams who a couple of times happened to win championships. Beyond the coaching though Dean Smith and Roy Williams are two fantastic PEOPLE who have done things to help their communities and better this world. I may be the only one who thinks this way (or one of the few), but I’m happy to carry that torch as long as I need to.
In any case, I thought I’d share my pictures with y’all whether you’re interested or not. I can’t say for certain that Roy’s team next season will or won’t win a championship because I’ll be the first to tell you I didn’t believe they’d do it this season. They gave me quite a few scares. But, I can say that the NCAA and the AP trophies are beautiful and in their rightful place. See for yourself.
P.S. Carl and Shayna…you guys are great. Just a little shout out in case you made it this far. 🙂
I didn’t think it was possible to be frustrated, angry, helpless, livid, disgusted, and upset all at the same time. I figured you could be a couple of those things, but not all of them all at once. I was wrong. Every time I sit down to tell the story I think someone’s going to stop me and say that didn’t really happen it was just a nightmare you had. Oh no…it happened and I’m still quite annoyed about it all. I feel like Sophia on the Golden Girls…picture this…Atlanta and Charlotte 11:05pm on July 22nd, 2005…….
My brother and his fiancee had their new teacher orientation in Tampa on Friday all day, so they couldn’t fly up to North Carolina for my cousin’s wedding until Friday evening. Their flight was scheduled to leave Tampa at 8:49pm with a layover in Atlanta for a scheduled arrival in Charlotte at 11:49pm. My parents and I were en route to the airport to pick them up when mom’s cell phone rang and my brother said they missed their connection. Here’s the full story as I understand it and as it has been told 4 different times to AirTran employees over the phone until about 10:30am on July 23rd:
The plane that Andy and Janet were supposed to board in Tampa was coming from Atlanta. Due to storms, the Atlanta plane could not take off to come get them. It finally arrived. Prior to boarding, an announcement was made in the gate area by the ticketing agent at the gate. He explained that passengers making connections in Atlanta would in fact make their connections. He listed off several cities including Charlotte and the passengers were told that those planes were being held and would be there when they arrived in Atlanta. Andy and Janet boarded the plane. They were on the next to last row on the plane and because of their connection the flight attendant moved their seats up to the 4th row inside coach behind first class. When everyone was on the plane, the man who took their boarding passes (different from the ticketing agent)came onto the plane and made the same announcement about the planes being held in Atlanta for them that the ticketing agent had made in the gate area. No problem, right…WRONG…seriously WRONG.
Andy and Janet arrived in Atlanta, stepped off the plane, and were told at the gate that their connecting flights had left them. Andy and Janet arrive in Atlanta at 10:55pm. The Atlanta to Charlotte flight had a 10:45pm departure time and took off on time without those who were TEN MINUTES LATE despite the fact that they had been told the planes were being held. Turns out that because of the earlier delays the air traffic controllers were preventing planes from holding at the gate and forcing them to take off, even though their Atlanta to Charlotte flight was the last flight out that night and no plane was itching to get into that gate. I’d be willing to bet that the Atlanta to Charlotte flight was still on the runway in line for takeoff when Andy and Janet landed. Is it so hard to say…please return to the gate??? NO…see I just said it. How do you leave someone when you are the last flight out that night??? How cruel can you be???
Andy and Janet were informed that the next flight to Charlotte wasn’t until 12:45pm the next afternoon (Saturday). They were not offered hotel vouchers for the night and would have to spend the next 13 hours in the Atlanta airport. They were each given a $7.00 meal voucher and a $25.00 stipend on their next AirTran flight (YEAH RIGHT). If you’ve never been to the Atlanta airport let me tell you…$7.00 doesn’t buy much especially at 2am. Their bags were on the 12:45 flight already and if they wanted them they would have to go to baggage claim, wait 2 hours for someone to go get them. Apparently, when it is weather that prevents a plane from keeping its scheduled departure time it is considered an act of God. In which case, the airline has no reciprocal agreement with other airlines to find their passengers flights on those other airlines. Nor are they required to provide lodging for them. So, it seems to me that AirTran is blaming God and using Him to get out of an obligation they have to their passengers for service. Isn’t that taking the Lords name in vane somehow???
We decided to get them a hotel room…well guess what. That baggage claim stuff was a bunch of hooey…they went down to baggage claim and were treated very rudely by Tracy and Jerry (AirTran employees). They were told that they couldn’t get their bags until 5:30am when the next shift came on duty. So they were stuck in the airport. We went over all the options…driving to get them, them renting a car, flying up at 12:45pm, flying a different airline, flying back to Tampa. We finally decided to fly them back to Tampa the next morning because even if they were to fly to Charlotte the next day they wouldn’t have had any sleep and had been up since about 6:30am on Friday. Who wants to meet their fiance’s family when you haven’t had any sleep?!?! We got them on a 10:05am flight to Tampa, but they were told to try to get on standby for the earlier 7:55am flight. Andy specifically asked Jerry at baggage if they could get their bags to be checked on the 7:55am flight if they showed up at baggage at 5:30am. Jerry said, yes. Jerry lied. They didn’t get their bags until 8:30…just in time to check them in for the 10:05am flight. They got home and went to sleep for the next 18 hours and missed the wedding.
I spoke to 4 different AirTran employees: two reservation employees, one supervisor, and a customer relations employee. Jon (the supervisor) was nice and sympathized, but he couldn’t help since he only worked in reservations. Donna (customer relations) was nice and took my entire story down to be sent off to investigate the Atlanta employees for their rudeness as well as to send it to corporate. I got their $25.00 stipend increased to $75.00 each, but I did explain to Donna that with all due respect I didn’t expect them to ever be used.
Morals of the story…really I have just one:
DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES FLY AIRTRAN AIRWAYS…they’re rude liars.
I was somewhere around Archdale, NC when I turned on the Sports Talk station to hear if Lance Armstrong had accomplished his goal. Not that I doubted, but you never know when that gut-wrenching crash is going to do him in. He almost had one of those yesterday, but was able to stay upright. In the end, he toasted his biggest rivals who are also his friends and retired at the age of 33. As far as athletes go, I’d have to say he’s the strongest. I don’t think any other sport calls on as much of your body as cycling does. I saw the stats this morning on ESPN. During his seven victories, he has traveled over 15,000 miles and won by a combined total of over 39 minutes. He has been awarded the yellow jersey 83 times…second only to some guy who has 111 of them. So, congrats, Lance. It’s been a great ride. Thanks for taking us along.
I was driving back from North Carolina yesterday and heard the sportstalk guys on the radio say the sweetest words I’ve heard in a while. TRAINING CAMP OFFICIALLY OPENS TOMORROW. Oh how I love to hear that…if for nothing else but the simple promise that should the world not end in the near future (which would be okay, too), then the NFL will live to play another season. YAHOO!!!! I’ve survived another drought in the sports world (as I see it since I don’t readily watch baseball…sorry Kel). It’s just those few months following March Madness that get me every year. I think it’s because all the TV shows I watch are on hiatus and there’s nothing to fill my boring life with. 🙂 But yes…NFL Training Camp opened today. How sweet it is!! So, let’s get this party started and see how soon we can get rid of the undefeateds, wake up the sleepers, criticize (I mean…welcome) the rookies, watch the nailbiter won with a game winning field goal, and predict the superbowl winner. My personal vote is for the Colts…say what you will, but I’m holding out hope that someday Peyton will get his ring. If you don’t think so…go ask any Elway fan how long they had to hold out hope.
Happy 1st day of the 2005 NFL season!!!
Today is my last day of work for the week because I’m headed (sort of) on vacation to North Carolina. One of my cousins is getting married this weekend, so my parents, who have been here for nearly a week, and I are headed to North Carolina to attend. (On the way we’re stopping in Chapel Hill to see the 2005 NCAA Championship Trophy…GO HEELS.) My mom grew up in North Carolina, so I’ve long been a fan of the state and all that comes with it. I didn’t grow up there and I tend to appreciate the views of different states from people who are outsiders. It’s more real and less biased. I love that no matter where you are in the state you are 4 hours from either the beach or the mountains.
A couple of years ago, a series of books were published called 24/7. They started with America 24/7, which was a coffee table style photograph anthology for the US. Then they moved on to individual states. In the opening of the book, there’s a little script on the state that talks about all the great things it has to offer. North Carolina’s intro is by far my favorite one…notes in italic brackets are my thoughts:
Bluegrass and Sweet Tea
by Tommy Tomlinson
Let’s start out with this: We’ve got the best barbeque. Don’t come in here with your beef ribs or your brisket. Slow-cooked pork from towns like Lexington and Shelby is what they serve in heaven’s buffet line [Gary’s BBQ in China Grove, NC is the best]. And Winston-Salem is where they invented Krispy Kreme [THANK GOD].
So you won’t go hungry [no way, no how].
If you want a day from nature’s top-10 list, take the Outer Banks [northeast of Wilmington where Dawson’s Creek and other WB series were/are filmed] ferry out to Ocracoke Island and watch the sun come up over the Atlantic. Then loll on the beach, take a long nap, catch a few fish, walk across the island–it takes about two minutes [seriously]–and watch the sunset on Pamlico Sound.
Your money is probably already here, in the Bank of America and Wachovia towers in Charlotte, or in one of the other big banks across the state. Don’t worry: Jimmy the night guard is watching the vault.
We don’t really like to talk (Michael Jordan) about our homegrown celebrities, but (Billy Graham) it’s easy to (John Coltrane) look them up (Andy Griffith) yourself. [The Andy Griffith show is based on a real place called Mount Airy which is actually near Pilot Mountain.]
As far as world-altering events go, we’ll see whatever you got and raise you the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk. Maybe nothing else that changed mankind so much was over so soon; that first flight lasted just 12 seconds, not even long enough for Orville to open the complimentary bag of pretzels.
But enough of all that. I’ve got a sack of stories, like how the North Carolina Tarheels got their nickname [Nickname Story], or why the state’s two most beloved figures are race-car driver Richard Petty and pro wrestler Ric Flair [I met him once in an airport]…
…Our state has a lot to be proud of right now. We have two of the most impressive second-place finishers in recent memory: Clay Aiken and the Carolina Panthers [ok this one I’m not so impressed with…but still]. U-hauls roll across our borders every day with people coming for the jobs or the climate or just a good glass of sweet tea. There are so many folks who moved from up North to Florida, then turned around and ended up here, that we gave them a name: halfbacks.
But those are temporary things. Here is the enduring North Carolina: the view from a lookout on the Blue Ridge Parkway [by far my favorite part of the whole state], the eastern cornfields bending in the breeze, a bluegrass band tuning up at dusk.
No state has ever looked better in slow motion…
…North Carolina will be here when you’re [ready].
See you next week……….
Lately I’ve kind of felt like I was in a rut or funk. It hit home last week when I was driving to Fairfax and realized that I wasn’t even thinking. This isn’t the first time I’ve thought this way. I’ve noticed it before, but I really noticed it that night when I thought, wow, I wonder if my car would just go there if I didn’t steer it in that direction. Obviously it would not, but I just kind of felt like I was going through the motions of living. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great life, a great job, great friends and family, a great church, and an awesome Heavenly Father. But every now and then I think am I doing enough, am I doing too much, am I not doing at all. Am I just wading through this place we call earth until God calls me home (which at 27 can be a long way off or can be tomorrow…who knows)? Am I missing something? Is there an adventure or leap of faith that I should be taking but can’t quite put my finger on it? Life really is too short to have regrets, which is why I try to live my life without them. It’s not easy, but at least I try. But, every now and then I get this urge to just get in my car and go somewhere I’ve never been…To mark one more thing off that mental list I have of things to do or see before I die. Time and money constraints and obligations tend to bring me back to reality, but I always know that deep inside of me it’s still there. For now, I suppose I’ll just stay in this rut and look forward to whatever or whomever will bring me out of it.
It’s hard to find a woman who doesn’t like chocolate or some form of it. I have actually met a few who don’t, but it is rare. It’s not so rare to find a chocoholic, but an overly obsessed chocoholic can be a diamond in the rough, a needle in a haystack, a gem if you will. I’ve self-diagnosed myself as an overly obsessed chocoholic and since I refuse to believe anyone could ever come up with a 12-step program for this, I’m content with being so. Then, one day, Laurie walked into my life…well actually Jeff (her husband) threw a pen at me and that’s how we met…but that’s a story for another time. In any case, Laurie is of the same mindset as me…in lots of ways…it’s almost scary sometimes. Every now and then I’ll voice one of the thoughts in my head (this can be dangerous…don’t try this at home kids) and Laurie will say…I know I thought the same thing. Never is this more true then when we talk about chocolate. It is definitely mood altering…and the best part is that it’s legal for consumption. 🙂 Yesterday was Laurie’s 23rd Birthday, and we surprised her with a dessert party at TGI Fridays last night. Before she even got there, I’d asked the waiter to bring a Brownie Obsession (see there’s that word, again) for the birthday girl. We chocoholics know where the stuff is…and if you’re lucky enough you can become a chocolate connoisseur much like Laurie and I have become over the years prior to the afore mentioned pen throwing.
The beauty of all this is that through our love of chocolate I met a wonderful, funny, amazing, brilliant, caring friend. So not only can chocolate be mood altering…it can be life changing. My life has been truly blessed with Laurie in it. And I thank God for creating chocolate, making Laurie and me obsessed with consuming it, and causing Jeff to throw a pen at me so that I would know this beautiful creation of His BEFORE we get to Heaven. Happy Birthday, Laurie!
I’ve been to a lot of birthday parties in my 27 years of life (and people wonder why I have such an obsession over cake), but last night I attended my very first birthday baptism. Why, yes, I’ve been to many baptisms, but never one in conjunction with a physical birthday. It was such a cool idea…why didn’t I think of it. So, last night my dear, sweet, lovable, shy, funny, beautiful friend Ann became my newest sister in Christ. Our worship minister, Murray, talked a little bit about his conversations with Ann leading up to her decision, and one of the reasons she gave for not having been baptized, yet was because she didn’t like being the center of attention. That thought kind of stuck in my head because that was part of my resistance as well 7 years ago. But then it struck me how absolutely pure that is. When you put God first, being the center of attention (whether you liked being so or not) becomes secondary. The beauty of it all is that through baptism we aren’t making ourselves the center of attention, we’re asking Jesus to be the center of our life. In any case, Ann chose to do a baptism that was so very similar to mine. It was quiet and she was surrounded by her friends (who hopefully know her best). It is definitely the most eventful evening I will have this week because whenever I am witness to a baptism, I love to imagine the shouts and cheers in heaven at that moment. Ann showed me a new facet of humility that I pray I will always remember and be able to replicate in my own life. Welcome to the family, my sister. Oh, and happy birth and re-birth day. Pictures
P.S. We went to Macaroni Grill after the baptism to celebrate, and when we left there was a car in the parking lot with RECRE8D on its license tag. Whether their intent was spiritual or not, I kind of thought it was the perfect bookend to the evening.